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Interdependence is a higher value than independence.

Stephen Covey

No one is independent. Every person—from a newborn baby, to a U.S. President, and anyone else—is dependent on others, in one way or another. We are all interdependent!

Yet in the disability arena, many worship at the altar of “independence.” A variety of disability organizations, special educators, families, and others have the goal of “helping people with disabilities achieve their highest level of independence.”

What does this statement mean? Independence in what form? Financial, physical, decision-making, or what? What if children or adults with disabilities have a different definition than those who promote this goal? What does “highest level” mean, and who defines it? How could the goal be achieved if there’s no consensus on what the words mean? This—an understanding of terminology—is one issue.

Another issue is arrogance. Those who push others to become independent are... Click here to continue.